Tourist who taunted bison banned from Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier national parks
The Oregon man who left a trail of crimes against his fellow tourists and the wild places they were visiting in Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier national parks was banned from those parks Thursday and sentenced to 130 days in jail.
Most notably, 55-year-old Raymond Reinke was convicted of disturbing wildlife in Yellowstone for taunting a bull bison on a crowded park roadway – an incident captured on video and distributed via social media to an incredulous worldwide audience.
He’ll also be on unsupervised probation for five years, cannot go into any liquor stores or bars, and must enroll in an alcohol rehab program.
Although he initially denied all five federal charges filed against him, Reinke pleaded guilty to four charges – including the wildlife offense – in exchange for prosecutors dropping one drunk and disorderly charge.
Reinke appeared to be drunk in the bison-taunting video. Alcohol also played a role in several altercations that occurred during his stays in Grand Teton and Glacier. He was arrested in Glacier after creating a ruckus in the Many Glacier Hotel’s dining room.
Here’s the chain of events that led to Reinke’s arrest earlier this month:
On July 28, Reinke was arrested in Grand Teton Park on a drunk and disorderly conduct charge. He was booked into the Teton County jail, stayed overnight, then released on bond. That’s when he headed for Yellowstone, where rangers pulled over his vehicle for a traffic violation on July 31.
Reinke was a passenger in the car, and was argumentative with officers. He appeared to be drunk and was cited for failure to wear a seatbelt.
It was after the traffic stop that Reinke gained international attention after other visitors posted videos on the bison-hazing incident.
In the video, Reinke charges a large bull bison, taunting it to chase him. Ultimately, the bison gives chase but the man is able to escape the charge and again begins taunting the animal.
The incident occurs in a traffic jam that has cars stopped in both directions of travel while he harasses the bison.
Other visitors not only posted the video, but filed wildlife harassment reports with Yellowstone rangers, who issued a citation to Reinke requiring a court appearance.
On Thursday, Aug. 2, Yellowstone rangers working with their counterparts in Grand Teton Park were able to connect the dots in Reinke’s record of criminal activity in the two parks.
“Seeing the egregious nature of the wildlife violation, the assistant U.S. attorney requested his bond be revoked,” the Park Service said in Friday’s announcement of Reinke’s arrest. “The request was granted and on the night of Aug. 2, a warrant was issued for Reinke’s arrest.”
Reinke had told rangers that he intended to travel on to Glacier National Park, so rangers there began looking for him on Thursday night.
Once again, his own behavior provided the needed assistance, as shortly thereafter law enforcement officers were called to the dining room at Many Glacier Hotel, where two guests were involved in a loud argument and disturbance.
One of those individuals was Reinke.
Glacier rangers took him into custody and drove him to Helena, where they were met by rangers from Yellowstone Park, who took him to Mammoth Hot Springs and booked Reinke into the Yellowstone jail.
During Thursday’s hearing, the prosecutors noted Reinke’s criminal history – almost all involving petty crimes – and dating to 1981.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman sentenced Reinke to 60 days in jail for the harassing wildlife charge, 60 days for interfering with law enforcement (he resisted arrest on more than one occasion) and 10 days for disorderly conduct (also in more than one park). He was given credit for 21 days served in the jail at Mammoth Hot Springs.